Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 7, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Russell's deal 'boon to homeowners, city strapped' By ANDY OGLE Herald Staff Writer Property tax changes unveiled by the provincial government Wednesday appear to be a boon to taxpayers and will erase immense administrative difficulties at the local and provincial level, Lethbridge City Manager Allister Findlay says. But the moves announced by Municipal Affairs Minister Dave Russell will not alleviate problems faced by the city in meeting increased wage, materials and debt charge costs, he said. The new measures, designed to streamline the property tax system, will eliminate payment of the provincial education portion of property taxes by homeowners and will thus also eliminate the education tax rebate (up to for which they were eligible A 15-per-cent increase in grants to municipalities was also announced but Mr. Pindlay says in Lethbridge's case this would appear to amount to only or about three-quarters of a mill, which would be insufficient to really ease the city's struggle to hold its budget within provincial growth guidelines. Edmonton and Calgary are also wrestling with the problem of keeping their mill rate increase within the 22Vz per cent over three years limit and both cities are dealing with proposed budgets that would exceed the limit. Mr. Findlay expects to present the city's 1974 operating budget to council in March. Mr. Russell said the new program, which must be approved by the legislature, would, by eliminating the education tax and rebate for homeowners and on apartment buildings up to the size of fourplexes, simplify administration of the taxation system. Renters in apartments up to the size of fourplexes should see a rent reduction but highrises are considered commercial buildings and will still pay the 28-mill tax, he said. Highrise dwellers will have to apply for the maximum renters' assistance program, Mr. Russell said. Eliminating the rebate will save the government in cheque-handling fees alone, he said. "That does not include our data centre, the municipal affairs department and municipal offices. The administrative saving to municipalities and the prov- ince is going to be fairly substantial" The government will pay the million earmarked for rebates to homeowners directly to the school foundation program, he said. Mr Findlay agreed, saying the rebate system was a Late night pact may resolve truckers9 strike WASHINGTON (AP) Ne- gotiators reached tentative agreement early today to end the eight-day strike of independent truck drivers in the United States. Truckers were promised all the fuel they need and higher freight rates. Federal William Simon announced that long-distance highway truckers will be allocated 100 per cent of their fuel needs. Simon said the change will make an additional bar- rels of diesel fuel available each day at truck stops throughout the country. He said truckers using gasoline Driver stopped at Billings The truckers' strike in the U.S. could mean a little less celery on Lethbridge tables if the agreement isn't ratified Two produce wholesalers in Lethbridge said Wednesday they are managing to keep up with demand, but it has taken a lot of shuffling. "We've managed quite well so said one fruit buyer, "but if the situation gets any worse, it could close us down altogether. Fruit is our lifeWood." The buyer said his firm's trucks have been getting through to'Canada so far. All fresh produce in Canadian stores comes from the United States this time of year, he said. Another buyer said the situation could be serious if it isn't straightened out soon. "We had a trucker pull in here yesterday carrying a loaded the buyer said. "And he nearly had to use it once." The trucker was stopped near Billings. Mont, by other truckers who insisted be pull over. He managed to talk his way through the roadblock without showing the gun he had sitting on his lap. would receive similar treatment. Representatives of striking independent truckers said they will recommend acceptance of the agreement. The negotiators said there would be no formal ratification vote, but that they would go out in the field to explain the agreement and urge that truckers signify their acceptance by starting up their rigs again In the meantime, they asked the drivers to stay home and re- frain from violence. Details of the agreement were not immediately disclosed, but government officials said the Interstate Commerce Commission will announce later today approval for a temporary surcharge that would allow the truckers to raise their rates. The truckers have asked for a reduction in the price of diesel fuel, higher freight rates and permission to pass their increased, costs along to shippers. After the six-hour bargaining session which broke up shortly after 2 a.m. MST, government negotiators gave full assurance that truck stops will have all the fuel they need. Additional measures were to be announced later today. Meanwhile, stretches of United States highways were under heavy guard as violence spread prior-to announcement of the tentative settlement. Extra police patrols were ordered at critical areas in 10 states and National Guard units were on duty in seven states. A handful of Canadian truck drivers are stranded in Or- lando, Fla., "too scared to leave" with their loads of to worth of citrus fruits. About 30 more were are out on strike at the Fntitbelt Pro- duce Trucking LUL's terminal at St. Catharines, Out, after hearing reports of 30 drivers stranded in the South. One driver returned to Lon- don, Ont, with the windshield of his truck cracked by shotgun pellets in an incident on U.S. interstate Highway 75, about 16 miles from Detroit costly headache for city hall tax officials. "It was getting so he said of the education tax rebate system introduced last year and the home-owners discount system that preceded it, "that it was becomeing difficult and very time-consuming to explain it to individual taxpayers who came in to inquire about their rebates." According to Lethbridge' West MLA Dick Gruenwald, some Lethbridge residents still haven't received their 1973 education tax rebates. In direct monetary gains the new program appears to benefit people with more expensive homes most. They are the ones who, because of the higher assessed value of their homes, were paying more in provincial education taxes than the maximum rebate. Homeowners with lower assessments, whose education portion of their taxes were or less, were already getting the full amount rebated. Mr. Russell said homeowners who pay their taxes on their mortgages could find a to reduction in their monthly mortgage payments because of the new scheme. However, he said, no decrease was likely before June. The changes would be retroactive to Jan. 1 once they are approved by the Legislature. The education tax used to support the School Foundation Program will still be collected from industrial and commercial property, which includes all apartment buildings larger than fourplexes. Mr. Findlay said this would seem to in effect create two mill rates one for commercial industrial property and one for residential property. The city's mill rate was set at 72 mills in 1973, and about 25 mills went to the School Foundation Program. On the basis of the new plan the residential mill rate in 1973 would have been only 47 mills. Opposition House Leader Bob Clark praised the government's removal of the education tax but said the program will not help municipal budgets in Edmonton and Calgary. Mr. Clark said removal of the tax is an appropriate use of "Alberta's new-found wealth Increased grants to municipal governments will help many urban centres, "but will not help the provinces two major cities, Edmonton and Calgary, which are contending with large budgetary problems this year." Mr. Clark said it is amazing that the government apparently still expects the municipalities to live within a 7.5 per cent budget increase guideline in this age of inflation The Lethbridge Herald VOL. LXVII 48 LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 1974 10 Cents 36 Pages British will vote Feb. 28 walkout until the end of the campaign. The Conservative leader, deciding to go to the polls 17 months before the end of his five-year mandate, is certain to make union militancy a central issue in the fight that is likely to be one of the most in post-war history. Joe Gormley, head of the that the He's going to the voters Prime Minister Edward Heath leaves 10 Downing Street today Grenada's independence ceremonies draw only second-string dignitaries ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada (AP) The strife-torn little island of Grenada got its inde- pendence from Britain today, but other Caribbean leaders boycotted Prime Minister Eric Gairy and stayed away from the five-day celebration. Only second-string foreign officiate were on hand as the Union Jade came down at About town TamtM of Taber and Dr. P. G. Karfcuis tumbling to the floor after their chairs broke at the sugar beet growers' meeting Skerry Clark asking for a lump of pig with his pork and beans after his luncheon partner got four pieces in his serving. midnight Wednesday night, and the red, green and gold flag of the Grenadans was raised. There were no representa- tives at all from Grenada's two major neighbors, Trinidad and Barbados. And the British government, because of the possibility of trouble, cancelled plans for Prince Richard of Gloucester to represent the. Queen. Canada is being represented at today's celebrations by L. A H. Smith, Canadian commissioner to Grenada. Gairy's opponents have demonstrated for weeks against the prime minister, who they say plans to set up a police state now that Grenada's 210 years of association with Britain have come to an end. Gairy, sup- ported by the island's rural peasants, denies the charge, Gairy's chief political oppo- nent Maurice Bishop of the leftist New Jewel Movement, was arrested about six hours before the island officially be- came independent, police said. Gairy, in an interview, said Inside Heath's action may i LONDON (CP) Hemmed 13inder Labor leader Harold in by threatening militant! Wilson is expected to accuse unions, Prime Minister Heath of muddled economic today called a snap elections-planning, including entry into for Feb. 28 and at the same European Common time urged coal miners, due to Market, which led Britain to strike Sunday, to postpone the Tits current grave economic -xrisis and its huge foreign 4trade deficit. About 40 million Britons are eligible to vote. In 1970 general election more; than one million trade unionists were estimated to have stayed home and may havejcost the Labor party the election. This time the traddaBion turnout is likely to be large. In a close vote the tiny band of ,il Liberals, headed by Jeremy Thorpe, may tip the balance of power hvdeciding which of the major parties will form the next government: In a number of byelections since the last general election, the Liberals increased their seats to 11 from six. The vote for the Liberals was described by many com- mentators as public dis- illusionment with the operations of the major parties In the 1970 vote, Heath came to power promising to reduce inflation "at a stroke" and to reduce the country's strike problems. But inflation is rising at about 10 per cent a year and the miners' strike is perhaps the worst industrial dispute since the end of the Second World War. A Labor victory likely would mean a better pay offer to the miners despite the risk of fur- ther inflation. Britain's book- makers give the Conservatives the edge. They quoted the Tories at 7 to 4 you bet to win 64. Labor was quoted at 5 to 4 you bet to win 65. The Liberals were 100 to 1 against The election decision, after weeks of political uncertainty and industrial turmoil, was announced from 10 Downing deferred because ofSPIfoe current climate" but said a final decision will be up to the union which is to meet Friday. The Conservatives, with 320 members in the 630-membefe Commons, have an? effective majority of about 20.t Heath undoubtedly will -to widen that margin tot provide him with increased' parliamentary power to restrain wages and prices in Britain's struggle against inflation The opposition Labor party, Stanfield seeks VIC inquiry TORONTO (CP) A publicSinquiry should be calleof to investigate operations oi the Unemployment Insurance Commission (UI-G1, Conservative Leader Robert Stanfield said today. fie fiold i -news conference Manpower Minister Robert Andras sjpd in a Quebec City speech' what the Con- servative party has been saying for months in the Commons: "There have been terrible mistakes in the administration of the UIC." Blakeney trying for another Bishop's arrest followed the discovery at Bishop's house of ammunition, guns and a map of the prime minister's official residence. Classified........20-23 Comics............18 Comment.........4, 5 District............15 Family.........16, 17 Local News.....13. 14 Markets...........19 Sports............8, 9 Theatres............7 TV.................6 Weather...... 3 Youth.............10 LOW TONIGHT 15; HIGH Fit, 35; CLOUDY PERIODS. Street dence. Heath's official resi- (CP) Saskatchewan is trying to find some way to boost the price of its oil by another dollar a barrel without hurting Eastern Canadian heating-oil buyers. Premier Allan Blakeney said today. He told a news conference be does not know whether that goal can be achieved, but the Saskatchewan government is determined to try because it feels the province is entitled to the dollar increase. Mr. Blakeney said that it was agreed at the recent federal-provincial energy conference that Saskatchewan could make the increase if it found some way to protect easterners who buy heating oil that comet from Saskatchewan oil Cattlemen 9s association moves one step closer Nixon retreads old argument in reply to judge WASHINGTON (AP) President Nixon has given a federal judge little new to ponder in response to the judge's request for an updated and more specific statement of why he is withholding White House tapes from the Senate Watergate committee. In a five-paragraph letter delivered Wednesday to U.S District Judge Gerhard Gesell, the president restated his argument that the court lacks the power to decide the dispute between the executive and legislative branches of government He asserted executive privi- lege for all of the five tapes demanded by the committee in a subpoena issued last July. The committee's intention to make the conversations public and the affect that might have on any future Watergate prosecutions were cited by the president as his primary reasons for withholding them. Nixon noted that the tapes turned over to the special Wa- tergate prosecution were for use in secret grand jury delib- erations Last Jan. 25, Gesell issued an order saying that the presi- dent's prior claims of executive privilege were "too general and not sufficiently contemporaneous." He asked Nixon for a signed statement "addressed to specific portions of the subpoenaed tape recordings" saying which parts he still wants to withhold and why he believes giving them to the committee would not be in the public interest Gesell has before him the committee's lawsuit seeking a judgment upholding its right to subpoena the tapes. Gesell threw out committee subpoenas demanding neatly 900 tapes. In related developments: committee was scheduled to meet in closed session to discuss what to do about special prosecutor Leon Jaworski's request that it delay issuance of any report that might prejudice forthcoming Watergate trials. House of Representa- tives passed 410 to 4 a resolu- tion arming its judiciary com- mittee with broad subpoena power to help it determine whether President Nixon should be impeached. Lowell Weicker (Rep. a member of the Senate Watergate committee, made public Wednesday a series of questions he has posed to the president including why Nixon did not notify the proper authorities, as required by law, about the evidence Dean gave him last March 21 about the Watergate cover-up. Weicker also asked Nixon how bis legal responsibility in the cover-up differs from that of Dean who has pleaded guilty to a charge of obstructing justice. CALGARY (CP) Creation of a single commodity giuup for beef- cattle producers moved a step doser Wednesday when the Western Stock Growers' Association approved a committee plan for an Alberta cattlemen's Association. The plan, approved at the WSGA annual meeting, calls for a board of 17 to run the new organization. Nine directors would be elected on a zone basis, with the province being zoned according to cattle population. The remaining eight directors would include two from WSGA, two from Urafarm, two from the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association, one from the Alberta Dairymen's Association and one from the Alberta Cattle Breeders Association. Unifarm wants only five- other directors one from each of the associations. The elected board would ask the Alberta Agricultural Products Marketing Council for the right to collect a 10- cent-a-head promotion and research fund. Any variable amount over 10 cents would be refundable upon request of the individual producer The Alberta Cattle Commission, a government body which now collects the money, would be phased out Neil Harvte of Cochrane, WSGA single-commodity group chairman, said the new association would be spokesman for Alberta's beef industry Meetings have been held over the last two years to try to win agreement from.all sections of the cattle industry on the plan.